From an LDV perspective, SFDC mentions Divisions are a way to speed up query response times:

Divisions... make searches, reports, and list views more meaningful to users in very large organizations by segmenting data into logical sections. For example, if your searches are taking a long time or timing out, and your users only need to see a subset of your data, then using Divisions can help improve performance.

I understand the user-experience when using Divisions... simple enough. Useful. But technically, how does this feature work?

Is this a prioritized custom index that the platform maintains?

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    Salesforce being based on Oracle, I suspect this is using partitions. – Phil W Sep 21 '19 at 19:22
  • but custom indexes are expensive in terms of insert/update. They actually have a technical downside. Do "Divisions" have a downside or a tradeoff? I want to know... but to answer this I need to know what they are... their quiddity. All I know is what they are probably NOT... I do not think they have anything to do with Share Tables or Group Maintenance Tables, for example. I think @PhilW might be right. But then my next question is "ok, so what is the downside to using Partitions"? Is there a con or tradeoff? – krigi Sep 21 '19 at 22:04
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    My question would be: will your users notice any technical (performance) downside? Remember, you are running in the cloud on virtualized servers using a proprietary, multi-tenant platform. The UX has arbitrary latency anyway (entirely based on what your neighbours are doing) and you don't otherwise pay for CPU usage as such (just limited to a certain amount per transaction). – Phil W Sep 22 '19 at 9:27
  • If you tell us why you care about the underlying implementation or (better) what you're trying to achieve, you'll probably see more useful answers. – identigral Sep 22 '19 at 23:39

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